Where’s the Hope?

“I’m not a very religious person,” said a young man who was interviewed on the street after the horrific shooting in Orlando, Florida. “But whatever religion you are, no matter what you believe—send it whatever—our way.”

He sighed as he tried to articulate his thoughts. “We all need it. We all need something. We all need that…hope. So just keep praying for us.”

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What is hope?

In the world’s vernacular, hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

  • I hope our baseball team wins.
  • I hope it rains.
  • I hope you feel better soon.

However, it wasn’t hopeful, wishful thinking that triggered my brain when the man said, “Send it whatever our way.”

I yearned to tell him, “whatever it is” has a name and it’s not a “thing.”

It is Someone who loves you so much that He died in your place so you could experience a Living Hope that…

  • Exceeds expectations.
  • Satisfies desires.
  • Doesn’t disappoint.

I wanted to tell him about “Christ Jesus our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1).

And that “our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers” (1 Timothy 4:10).

Only, I wonder if the irreligious man would have listened to me because…the world doesn’t want us to tell them about the hope within us.

They want us to show them.

The employees of several Chick-fil-a restaurants in Orlando could have told the wounded victims and the people who mourned, “We’re praying for you.”

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Instead, they showed compassion.

On a Sunday—when Chick-fil-a is normally closed—employees cooked and served free chicken sandwiches and sweet tea to hundreds of people who lined up to donate blood for the wounded.

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The folks who gave their blood also illustrated a compassionate heart. And reminds me…

God demonstrated His love towards us when He sent His only, begotten Son to shed His blood for me.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, “the world must be shown that I love the Father and do exactly as He commands.” (John 14:31 NEB)

People are watching.

When they look at Christians, do they see a talking head? Or a disciple of Christ who loves God and does what He commands:

  • Prays for our enemy.
  • Loves our neighbor.
  • Serves one another as unto Christ.

Sometimes, I’m tempted to feel hopeless when I’m going through a crisis. But Romans 15:13 says,

“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope.

Like the distressed man said, “We all need hope.”

So let’s pray and show the world the radiant hope within us even in this difficult time.

What are Friends For?

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My friend sniffs, pausing in the middle of her story to get a tissue from her purse.

I wait beside her in the coffee shop.

Mute. Helpless.

Watching huge tears travel down her cheeks like raindrops rolling down a window pane.

She wipes her trail of tears, and I wonder…

Isn’t there a Bible verse about collecting tears in a bottle?

I swallow the knot in my throat. Blink back my own tears.

What can I say to encourage her?

  • Offer to pray with her?
  • Quote a Bible verse?
  • Assure her everything will be alright.

When honestly, I don’t know how things will turn out.

I touch her arm, but hold my tongue. Fearful of being like Job’s friends. Full of platitudes.

Can she feel my empathy? My longing to make things better?

Perhaps it’s enough I’m here to listen.

My friend eventually changes the subject. Mood lightens. Similar to shifting gears on a bicycle after you’ve pedaled on rough terrain and the landscape flattens out.

We hug; agree to pray for one another. Then go our separate ways.

Nothing changed. Nothing solved.

But just the act of sharing—the good, bad, and ugly—lifts our burdens. If only for the moment.

Spirits strengthened. Eyes fixed again on Jesus. We advance into the night….

Trusting a Sovereign God.

Thankful we’re not alone, even if our friends haven’t walked in our shoes or can fully comprehend the pain.

Consider the Virgin Mary who conceived a son and then went in a hurry to visit Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary, she “cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

Surely those words were exactly what Mary needed to hear.

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Mary didn’t have to grieve alone.

Years later, when Jesus was dying on a cross, He saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby.

“He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’

Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’

From that hour the disciple took her into his own household (John 19:26, 27).

Mary didn’t have to grieve alone.

Mary Magdalene among others was also there beside her.

Isn’t that what friends are for?

Loving the people God places in our lives.

Especially for such a time as this…..